One-on-one meeting with Alexander Tkachenko, Managing Partner at 2be.lu VC fund and CEO and Founder of VNX.
This year was unpredictable and challenging like no other for many businesses. Looking back on the year, what was it like for Fintech?
2020 has put the global economy under stress, but at the same time it underlined the importance of fintech and digitalization. Fintech companies are uniquely positioned to expand access to financial services. In fact, Fintech is making finance more inclusive while at the same reducing the need for face-to-face interaction.
Trends laid down in 2020 – recognition of crypto assets, collaboration between fintechs and regulators, rise of the investment apps, demand for digital assets – will deeply influence the industry in the coming years.
Blockchain and crypto are still buzzing around and gaining attention from the public. How have these sectors evolved this year and what are their perspectives?
This year the number of blockchain use cases grew and spread far beyond the cryptocurrency. More companies embed this technology into their processes.
I see great potential in asset tokenization. It has a number of promising features: it allows greater access to different assets and democratizes the investment process. During the last year there were a number of outstanding cases of asset tokenization around the world and Luxembourg, in particular. For example, VNX successfully completed Europe’s first VC deal on blockchain.
Crypto and blockchain industries have attracted more attention and capital both from individual and institutional investors. The central banks are also keeping pace in mastering the new technology and exploring and even piloting CBDCs. In the coming years I expect broader adoption of blockchain in finance.
“Crypto and blockchain industries have attracted more attention and capital both from individual and institutional investors.”
What was this year like as a Venture Capital investor?
This year has definitely been challenging for startups and busy for VCs. Almost all startups had to adapt to the new reality and 2be.lu‘s primary focus was to help startups survive this storm. We spent a lot of time on calls with founders, digging deep into operations to cut costs and extend the runway. Some companies from specific industries, like delivery and blockchain did very well, but still had to adapt to the growing demand and seize opportunities.
Despite this extensive activity we continued to invest in outstanding companies and worked on new deals. I am happy that one of our portfolio companies was acquired by the leading provider of ERP software for the European property industry. Such stories always inspire and prove that we are on the right track.
Has the last year affected the criteria for investing in startups?
Last year the investment criteria shifted more towards the support of the companies in the current portfolio. But now I think the funding activities will grow. The most important criteria will still remain the same – great idea and how it solves a particular market problem, outstanding team and readiness to prove that your business model is viable, commercially attractive and scalable.
This article was first published in Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read our full Fintech edition.